For seasoned professionals and beginners alike, the assistance and coaching of a competitive shooting instructor can help immensely. An objective analysis of your shooting abilities can greatly increase your growth as a shooter. If you’ve never had an instructor or are looking to switch things up, here are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind:
- Check the cost. For many, budgetary concerns are the biggest deal breaker for an instructor. Find out what you can afford to pay and what the average cost for shooting instructors is in your area. Group lessons are cheaper than individual instruction, but one on one classes tend to be higher quality.
- Get referrals. An instructor may have many skills and qualifications, but this doesn't mean he or she is a good teacher. It's important to hear what others have to say about a shooting instructor before making a big financial commitment. Learning what others in your community have to say about an instructor can help you pick one who's right for you.
- Make sure he or she is respectful. An instructor should never insult you, talk down to you, or make off-putting comments. Though it's normal to have to put up with a slightly inflated ego, trust your instincts if the instructor steps over the line. A good teacher respects his or her students. If possible, see if you can meet the instructor and see what impression you get of him or her.
- Find out his or her background. An instructor should be properly trained. This training can come from a variety of sources—government, firearms school, competitive shooting, and more. Ask your potential instructor about how he or she learned to shoot. A good instructor continues to practice often and perhaps even currently attends classes. The instructor should also have certifications and licenses to prove his or her knowledge and ability.
- Make sure safety is a priority. Firearms are dangerous when handled improperly. Any marksmanship or competitive shooting class should have safety as a big part of the curriculum and practices. It should be easy to tell if a particular school emphasizes safety. Safety should be stated on the syllabus and/or website, and instructors and their assistants shouldn't make light of firearm safety.
- Learn the focus of the school. If competitive shooting is the area you're seeking training in, a self-defense shooting course would be the wrong choice. Learn the areas the school or instructor focuses on. If an instructor emphasizes areas you're weak in, he or she is a good choice. An instructor should state a specific focus, or else the class is likely a one size fits all approach to shooting.
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